Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Pop-Up Comments for Graphics.

Pop-Up Comments for Graphics

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 25, 2012)

Shane knows how to add comments to cells so that when you hover the mouse over the cell you can see the comment. He would like to do the same thing with graphics—have a comment or pop-up box appear when a person hovers the mouse over a graphic placed in a worksheet. While Shane could adjust cell size to match the graphic and then attach the comment to the cell, the size of the graphics he is using really don't make that practical. He wonders if there is a way to have pop-up comments appear when someone moves the mouse over a graphic in a worksheet.

There is no way to do this using the Comments feature of Excel, but there are some workarounds. The first involves using hyperlinks. Just follow these steps:

  1. Insert the graphic in your worksheet and size as desired.
  2. Select the graphic (click on it once).
  3. Press Ctrl+K. Excel displays the Insert Hyperlink dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Insert Hyperlink dialog box.

  5. Click the Place In This Document button.
  6. If desired, in the Type the Cell Reference box, enter the address of a cell close to or behind your graphic.
  7. Click the ScreenTip button. Excel displays the Set Hyperlink ScreenTip dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  8. Figure 2. The Set Hyperlink ScreenTip dialog box.

  9. Enter the text you want displayed.
  10. Click on OK to dismiss the Hyperlink ScreenTip dialog box.
  11. Click on the OK button to dismiss the Insert Hyperlink dialog box.

The result is that when someone hovers the mouse pointer over the graphic, a small note appears—usually below the graphic—that contains the ScreenTip text. It isn't quite as noticeable as a regular Excel Comment, but it does provide a little assistance.

If you want something a bit harder to miss, then a macro might be helpful. There are a number of different ways you could approach a macro-based solution, but perhaps the easiest is to simply create a macro such as the following:

Sub MyMacro()
    MsgBox "This is my comment"
End Sub

Back in your worksheet, right-click on the graphic and choose Assign Macro from the resulting Context menu. Excel shows you a list of all the macros available to you; you should pick the short one you just created (in the example above it is "MyMacro").

Now, when you click on the graphic, you see a message box that contains whatever text you specified in your macro. It isn't quite as automatic as only requiring the person to scroll over the graphic, but it does provide a handy way to convey a lot of information to the user.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11396) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Pop-Up Comments for Graphics.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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